In an earlier post I remembered my friend James Aboud, in Port of Spain, and wondered whether there were very many judges with his taste, erudition and sensibility.
In a similar vein, I wonder whether there are very many employers as literate as Mr Ram Ray of Calcutta. He runs the advertising company Response India. I worked for him in 2000, on the CALMANAC project of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation. Calmanac.org was the official website of Calcutta. We managed to put out a reasonably good website on the date of the launch (24 August 2000, the day observed as Calcutta’s “foundation” day). And further work was done thereafter. The portal got very good responses from surfers. Sadly, for reasons unknown to me, Calmanac.org does not exist anymore. And thus a lot of information and content that we had worked very hard to collect and put up – is not accessible.
Mr Ray once asked me about haiku. I gave him my copy of Basho’s Narrow Road to a Far Province. He still has that, and I’m sure, to good effect!
On another occasion, Mr Ray requested me to give him a write-up about … moral conduct catechisms, the kind associated with particular numbers, like “the three such and such” or the “four so and so” and so on. So I quickly concentrated my thoughts and wrote out a short note. I sent it to him saying: “Herewith some thoughts triggered by your reference. Hope it's useful.”
He replied: “Many thanks for your prompt response. After abstruse simplification of the profound proselytizations and mystic mores, your input will be indeed useful.” He titled it “Mnemonics of Conscience”.
I wish my beloved English master in school, Mr GM Khan, were alive to read this and critically assess it towards instilling sound composition skills.